On Monday, I attended my first-ever Body Pump class. This seems to be one of Les Mills’ most popular class offerings, and I know a lot of my run-blogging friends are fans. I decided to give it a try because I really need more overall strength training, but I find the weight room intimidating. Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m an empowered woman, blah blah, but still. I don’t like it. And I also don’t really know what I’m doing. So to have an instructor telling me exactly what to do and when sounded really appealing.
Since I didn’t have rehearsal until 8 pm, I was able to make a 5:30 class (class is one hour), and my coworker/gym buddy Freda came along for the ride. We got there early and approached a woman who we assumed was the instructor. She had just finished up teaching the previous class, but was kind enough to get us sorted out before she left. She actually said, “OK, we gotta get you set up, these people are like pirhannas, like sharks after chum. You gotta get your equipment fast or it’s all gone!” She wasn’t kidding. This class was jam-packed and there were people swarming all over the place grabbing bars and plates and steps.
She gave us a quick run-down of what the class would be like–warm up, squats/legs, upper body, abs, cool down and stretch, and showed us how the bars and clips worked, and explained that we could use as much or as little weight as we wanted for each section. After that, we just sort of waited anxiously for the class to start.
Guys, the instructor for this class was pregnant. And she’s not even the regular instructor. The regular instructor (who happens to be her sister), is even MORE pregnant. If you ever wanted to feel completely inadequate, take a Body Pump class taught by a visibly pregnant woman who doesn’t even break a sweat. I can only hope I’m half as active and strong as those two when I start procreating. My personal feelings of inadequacy aside, we lucked out once again with a new release, so we weren’t walking into a class where everyone knew the routine except us.
I will say, because the class was so full, and with so many people who obviously do Body Pump regularly, I feel like there is a very real possibility for failure/error/doing exercises incorrectly as a new person. I had never done a clean and press before this class, and could have used some more help getting that motion down. Proper form is really important to get the most out of an exercise and to avoid injury, and I feel like while Melissa did the best she could to describe the movements well, she was more focused on moving through the routine than giving individual feedback. Keep this in mind if you decide to try Body Pump. Maybe seek the instructor out before your first class and try to get a bit of coaching first.
Aside from that, this class is VERY good, and I can see why it’s so popular. It really is a full-body strength workout, that in my (non-professional) opinion, was pretty well-balanced. The warm up was just long enough to get my heart rate up a bit, and then we went straight into a squat track, which kind of made me want to die. Honestly, I thought I was a relatively strong person going into this class, but now I realize that that was a fantasy. I’m wimpy and out of shape. After doing 3 minutes of squats and lunges, I thought my legs were going to fall off. I kind of wanted them to. And then we did upper body. And then abs.
The day or two after, I had quite a bit of DOMS (particularly in my quads and the weird underarm/boob-fat area, which I think is a good thing), but nothing unmanageable, which means that I didn’t push it too hard. I want to take this class once a week, but I’m having a tough time fitting it into my schedule right now because of rehearsals. I’m probably going to end up having to go to a 6 am class, which is SO not my usual scene, but I think it will be worth it, particularly since I have the Spartan Race in September and have no idea how to train for it. Full-body strength training seems like a pretty good start for lack of another plan.
Have you ever tried Body Pump?
If so, are the people at your gym pirhannas? Do you have to get to class early and fight for a spot and equipment?